It wasn’t until last week’s episode that I figured out what’s been bugging me about this season thus far: it’s too linear.
Sure, there’s the time flashes that have helped us explore the island a little bit. But for the most part, the plot has been moving in a single forward motion. Contrast this with last season: we knew the “Oceanic 6” got off the island – but we didn’t know at first who the Oceanic 6 were. And until the very last episode, we didn’t know how they got off. We also didn’t know what happened to everyone else on the island. There created two narratives: the events on the Island, and the non-linear “flash forwards” about the Oceanic 6.
Having part of the story already laid out and filling in the puzzle pieces non-linearly is one of LOST’s most compelling storytelling devices. We wanted to know what Kate did. How Locke ended up in a wheelchair. Why each character was in Sydney. (I still want to know if there’s more to Sawyer’s background than we know about.)
Weirdly enough, this season we were for the first time being given more answers than questions. And it wasn’t nearly as exciting. Now we have some more puzzle pieces to fill in: How did Ben get beat up? Is Penny ok? Why was Sayid in custody? Why did Hurley decide to come along? Hopefully we’ll also start to see some of Daniel, Ben, Widmore, Richard, and Miles’s stories explored to create more tension.